Electrical arcing made early morning mobile home fire dicey for crews

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PHOENIX -- Electric arcs made it very difficult for Phoenix firefighters to deal with early morning fire at a mobile home.

Crews were called out to the home near 27th Street and Union Hills Drive shortly before 6 a.m. Smoke was visible from Loop 101 near Cave Creek Road.

According to Capt. Tom Ohmart said the woman who lives in the mobile home made it out safely.

The 43-year-old was asleep on the couch when the fire broke out. Because she was in the living rather than her bedroom,  she was much closer to the door, which made it easier for her to escape when her smoke detector went off. Firefighters said the fact that she was not in bedroom might have saved her life.

When the first crews arrived on the scene, she told them the only things she was worried about saving were her parents' urns. While those urns were located in a portion of the home where the fire was the worst, firefighters were able to save them.

The situation inside the burning home was an especially dangerous one.

"The electrical service kept arcing and preventing our guys from putting water on the primary seat of the fire," Ohmart explained.

Sparks were flying from both the underground pedestal, as well as from wiring within the home.

"It looks like lightning going off. It's literally, the two wires, they meet each other because the insulation is gone, [burned away by the flames], and they create a big spark. If we hit that with water, it'll kill a firefighter -- electrocute him instantaneously."

Crews had to work around the electrical arcs to keep the flames from spreading to nearby mobile homes.

"Mobile homes go quick," Ohmart said. "Our guys had a very aggressive attack. They were able to get in there and knock the fire down -- contain it -- until APS got on scene and shut down the whole grid to the mobile home park."

Crews were still mopping up hot spots more than an hour later.

It's not yet known what sparked the fire.

The woman who lived in the home suffered minor smoke inhalation. No other injuries were reported.